Diamonds are distinguished from other coloured gemstones by their simple structure and special chemical and physical properties, which to certain extent justify an economic separation.
By Sanjay Kothari,
Diamonds are the most legendary gemstones, symbolic of eternal connections. Since the dawn of time, diamonds have piqued the interest of mankind. No other gemstone can ever replace the emotions of love and devotion evoked by diamond, which makes it all the more popular. Although, coloured gemstones are high on both men and women’s wish lists for jewellery but not as much in demand as diamonds. Indians in particular are known to place the highest value in gold, followed by diamonds.
One of the many reasons as to why diamonds are more popular than coloured gemstones is marketing. Coloured gemstones have never had the opportunity to be displayed as prominently as diamonds. For the longest of time, diamonds have been extensively promoted in both B2B and B2C media to target prospective customers; however, gemstones are not marketed likewise. In fact, the idea of an engagement ring being a diamond one was also a mere marketing campaign that has been embedded in minds to such a great extent that until now, the entire industry is reaping benefits of it. Furthermore, marketing dollars in the 1960s and 1970s did very less to advance the cause of coloured gemstones. A campaign that manifested diamond as a woman’s best friend back in the day, has stuck ever since. Also, their non-destructive properties and high brilliance have contributed to their popularity. Not to forget, diamonds are more readily available in standard ‘calibrated’ sizes than gemstones. Market standards classification is very precise in case of diamonds along with having precise parameters for quality and price.
Chain of custody is the biggest strength of diamonds wherein the consumer is aware of the entire journey starting from its origin, which in case of gemstones is quite deficient at the moment. On the other hand, owing to the gamut of online and offline information, consumers are better educated about diamonds, the same doesn’t seem to be true for Gemstones.
Another reason is diamond price transparency. Price’s standards for diamonds are managed by governing bodies but in case of gemstones it all depends on demand and supply. Although the gemstone Industry is moving towards standardization but is still a long way from being.
Diamonds are distinguished from other coloured gemstones by their simple structure and special chemical and physical properties, which to certain extent justify an economic separation. Diamonds have also become more attractive because of its advanced cutting techniques combined with strategic & extensive marketing. There is no gemstone that can match the flash and return of light of a diamond, thanks to the evolution of the new round brilliant cut and the high refractive index of diamond.
Availability and repeatability of goods is extremely high in case of diamonds as compared to gemstones. In case of diamonds it is the final product which is required to be cut and polished, but in case of gemstones heating process is involved which decides the final colour and therefore declines its popularity.
With the current advent of diamonds being timeless, coloured gems start to disintegrate within a short span of time, unless it’s polished. Within the Indian populace, there is also a sense of pride in owning diamonds as compared to other gemstones. This will further escalate the existing demand that diamonds command over precious gemstones.
However, due to its low-cost advantage, coloured gemstones are witnessing the increase in demand as for trinkets and other accessories. Compared to diamonds, seasoned accessibility to gemstones as well as price fluctuations based on market demand, brings in more traction for gemstones. However, this would still not be enough to overcome the demand of diamonds in Indian scenario which is really high in magnitude.
At least in near future, coloured gemstones having a much-increased demand vis-à-vis the past, may not be able to beat the demand of diamonds which in large part, will continue to dominate as the preferred choice of precious gemstone for varied occasions.
(The author is Vice Chairman-KGK Group. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)